Best Pancake Air Compressor

Best Pancake Air Compressor 

If you are looking to get a pancake air compressor, you will want to be sure that you do your research in order to find a model that will fit your needs well. Pancake air compressors are one of the simplest and most popular types of air compressors that are purchased for a variety of applications. Read on for more information on pancake air compressors, as well as what you should take into consideration when doing your research. 


After testing a bunch of these units and surveying multiple construction people in my area I would recommend the Ridgid 6 Gal pancake air compressor the most out of them all. And if you don’t already have an 18 gauge brad (pin) nailer you can get one with the compressor.

amazing little pancake air compressor from ridid - orange in colour.
Ridgid air compresson pancake style package with an 18 gauge brad nailer

The image on the left (or top if your on your phone) is the single unit…click to get the best price. The other image is the package you can get. Great value with a gun and hose. Click the image to get the best pricing.

What Is a Pancake Air Compressor?

Pancake air compressors are a type of air compressor that can be easily identified by their small, flat shape– similar to a pancake, hence the name. They are lightweight and generally have a 1-gallon tank. As they are oil-free and do not have belts, they require very little maintenance, which makes it easy to take care of them if you are typically on a busy schedule! While they can fill bicycle tires and rafts, for instance, they are typically not powerful enough to run power tools– so if you are looking to run power tools, a pancake air compressor may not be the best choice for you. This is not always the case, though. There are many models that will still be able to run power tools, so you should simply be sure to do your research carefully. 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Pancake Air Compressor

Are you thinking about purchasing a pancake air compressor? Well, in that case, you will need to consider several different factors before you make your choice. The following factors are some of the ones that you should take into account– read on to find out more. 

CFM Capacity

You will want to know the maximum CFM capacity of the air compressor that you are considering– this is an acronym for cubic feet per minute, and refers to how much air the air compressor can pump out. CFM capacity is also dependent upon PSI, which we will go over below. 

Max PSI Reading

It is very important to consider the maximum pressure the air compressor can read and deal with. Good air compressors will have at least a maximum PSI level of 90 PSI or more. Of course, higher is better when it comes to max PSI. 

Tank Capacity

A pancake air compressor can have a tank capacity from about 1 to 6 gallons, depending on the make and model. These air compressors are small, so they typically do not have huge tank capacities, but new models sometimes do have larger tanks. Larger tank capacities are also preferable when the CFM or PSI capacity is low because the larger tank means that more air is still readily available. 


If you have ever used an air compressor, you know that they are pretty loud! Noise levels are certainly going to be something you will want to consider when making a purchase. You can easily find information on the noise level to expect on the packaging or in the product description. 80 dB or lower is ideal.

Oil vs Oil-Free Machinery

When it comes to oil-based air tanks, are known to be highly efficient. These options can be counted on for better performance and better durability. However, they also require more maintenance than oil-free machinery. Oil-free machinery has lower maintenance and is also more environmentally friendly. Of course, the purpose of having a compact and travel-friendly air compressor is to also have as little maintenance as possible, so oil-free is typically the way to go here. 

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle of the machine refers to the duration of how long your compressor will be able to run continuously before it needs to stop. General compact air compressors have about a 50% duty cycle range. When researching duty cycle range, you will also want to look at factors such as power ratings and garage requirements. 

Best Pancake Air Compressor 

We have rounded up some of the best pancake air compressor options below. These models take into account different variables such as budget, power, and quality. Take a look at the following list to find one that will work best for you and can fit your needs! This list will be a great jumping-off point. 

RIDGID 6 Gal Portable Electric Pancake Air Compressor

I love this thing. I wasn’t sure it would do all the things I needed it to do, but it really does. I have used it to do framing (construction), pump up my car’s tires, blow out my sprinkler systems, finishing my board and baton bedroom wall which you can see here, and other small projects.

The RIDGID 6 Gallon Portable Electric Pancake Air Compressor is a compact and powerful tool designed for a variety of applications ranging from inflating tires to powering air tools. Here is a short description followed by its key features:

Short Description: The RIDGID 6 Gallon Portable Electric Pancake Air Compressor offers reliable performance in a lightweight, portable design. Its pancake-style tank ensures stability and saves space, making it ideal for both professional and DIY projects. With its oil-free pump, it requires minimal maintenance and is ready for use whenever needed. This compressor is designed to start easily in any weather condition, providing maximum efficiency and productivity on the job site or at home.

Check Best Price Here

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 6-gallon air tank provides sufficient air volume for various tools and applications.
  • Design: Compact pancake design for stability and easy storage.
  • Portability: Lightweight construction enhances portability, making it easy to move around job sites or for various tasks around the home.
  • Power: Delivers reliable power with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, suitable for a wide range of air tools.
  • Pump Type: Oil-free pump requires less maintenance and is designed for durability and long life.
  • Performance: Efficient low-amp motor designed to start easily in cold weather or with an extension cord.
  • Dual Outlets: Equipped with two universal push-to-connect quick couplers for running multiple tools simultaneously.
  • Noise Level: Operates at a lower noise level, making it more comfortable to use in residential areas or indoors.
  • Gauge and Control Panel: Easy-to-read gauges and a well-organized control panel for convenient operation and monitoring.
  • Warranty: Comes with RIDGID’s industry-leading warranty, offering peace of mind and reliability.

This air compressor combines functionality and convenience, making it a versatile choice for professionals and hobbyists alike.

BOSTITCH BTFP02012 6 Gallon PSI Oil-Free Compressor 

The Bostitch BTFP02012 pancake air compressor model is 29 pounds, making it a great lightweight option for homeowners. It operates at 78 decibels, which can still be fairly loud in enclosed spaces, so it is recommended that you use hearing protection while the air compressor is in use. 

The tank is a 6-gallon tank with a 150 max PSI, and it features high flow regulators and couplers, both of which can maximize the compressor’s airflow. Some reviews have noted that it can be difficult to regulate the airflow when at lower pressures. The model also comes with two couplers, which allow for multiple users to work and use the air compressor all at once!

There are a few other perks that come with this particular model– it has a 5 foot 120-volt power cord and also has an oil-free high efficiency motor. This makes it easy to start, even in cold weather. 

Some of its key features are below:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 78-decibel noise level
  • Oil-free machinery 
  • 150 PSI/90 PSI at 2.6 SCFM
  • The pressure regulator can be difficult to control at lower PSIs

DeWalt DWFP55126 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

The DeWalt model is slightly heavier than the Bostitch model that we discussed previously. It clocks in at 30 pounds in weight and can be used for both home and professional use, due to its 165 max PSI. It is also capable of running two airlines at once without being too hard on the motor. 

This model operates at 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and has a 6-gallon air tank. Due to its 165 max PSI, you are going to be able to run air tools long before the motor has to kick in. There is an oil-free pump on this model, which will require very low maintenance. It also has a high-efficiency motor that allows for easy startup and can be run on an extension cord of up to 50 feet. 

When it comes to noise, this model is a bit quieter than the Bostitch model, but not by much! It has a noise level of 75 decibels. Some reviews also complain that the DeWalt air compressor has issues with leaking at the coupler fittings, so be aware. 

Some of its key features are below:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 165 max PSI/2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 75-decibel noise level
  • Potential leaks
  • More expensive than competitors

Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor

The Excell U256PPE air compressor is very similar in size to the Bostitch model that we discussed above. It is, however, much heavier, at 39 pounds. It has a 6-gallon tank and a max capacity of 150 PSI. It has an oil-free motor, making it painless to maintain, and is capable of 2.8 SCFM at 90 PSI. This makes it one of the most powerful air compressors that we have included on this list.

The motor is a small amperage motor, at 7.5 amps, which means that you will be able to use the compressor with an extension cord, and you will also be able to run it in very cold weather. 

There are some complaints, however, about the noise that this model creates. It is louder than many other models, and the brand, unfortunately, does not provide a decibel rating in the product description. Reviewers have said that the noise did not drive them out of the garage, but it was louder than preferable. 

Some of its key features are below: 

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 7.5 amp requirement
  • 1.5 HP motor
  • 2.8 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 39-pound weight
  • Loud

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free Pancake Compressor

The Porter-Cable air compressor is a bit bigger than its competitors, and it is heavier, too, at 34 pounds. This size and weight is still perfectly fine for you to move around the home and will still be easily transportable. The model operates at 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, with a maximum of 150 PSI. 

This model also has a built-in automatic thermal overload protection, which helps to protect the motor from overheating. The entire model is designed to be oil-free, too. When it comes to attachments, the model comes with a 120 volt, 5-foot power cord. 

Just like the Excell model that we went over previously, there is no decibel rating included on the packaging or product description. It has also been found to be louder than most competitors. That being said, this air compressor is well built and has a powerful motor and quick filling tank, so it should easily be able to fit your needs.

Some of its key features are below:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 150 max PSI/2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Loud
  • Slightly heavier than its competitors 

Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 6 Gallon Pancake Quiet Air Compressor

As can be gleaned from the name, the Campbell Hausfeld model is one of the quieter pancake air compressors out on the market today. It is, however, also one of the biggest, at 60 pounds. This makes it a bit harder to tote the model around and makes it less transportable– which is one of the big draws of pancake air compressors.

This model was designed to be quieter so that it can be used just about anywhere! It has a 68-decibel rating, making it a great option for use in small or enclosed spaces, as well as in noise-sensitive areas. 

Performance is not quite as up to par with the competition here, however. It has a lower max PSI than others on this list, at only 125 PSI, though it does have the same tank size. Reviewers have applauded the low noise levels of the Campbell Hausfeld air compressor, but they have also had some complaints. For instance, there are some cases where the compressor does not restart after the tank drops in air pressure. This could be fixed by unplugging and then replugging the machine. 

Some of its key features are below:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • 68 decibels
  • 125 max PSI/2.4 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • More expensive than competitors 
  • Not as powerful as competitors
  • Rare cases when it does not start

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most powerful pancake air compressor?

There are many great pancake air compressors, and there are plenty of options that can fit any budget or any set of needs. One of the best pancake air compressors is the Ridgid Six Gallon Electric Pancake Air Compressor, which has a max capacity of 300 PSI and an operating PSI of 150.

Are pancake compressors worth it?

Pancake compressors are certainly worth it because they typically have very efficient motors and many of them are oil-free, meaning that they will not freeze and be inoperable in winter months– especially if you are storing the compressor in your garage. Of course, whether or not they are worth it will be partially up to you and your individual needs, so be sure to do your research thoroughly before you buy. 

Which brand of air compressors is the best?

Plenty of brands of air compressors are great and will be able to fit your needs. Some of the most highly regarded of these brands are Makita, Ridgid, and Metabo. 

How long do pancake air compressors last?

How long your air compressor will last will partially depend on how well you take care of it. For example, you will need to drain your compressor every week for the best results. If you do take good care of it, you can expect your pancake air compressor to last for around 12 years– possibly more!